The Department of Wildlife in Sri Lanka has again re-opened to tourists the Pigeon Island National Park, as the north-eastern monsoon season in the country has now come to an end. The island’s name which is a reflection of the Rock Pigeon which has colonized it contains some of the best remaining coral reefs in Sri Lanka.
The coral reefs surrounding Pigeon Island harbors many Vertebrates and Invertebrates. Several of the 100 species of corals and 300 coral reef fishes recorded around the Trincomalee area are found in the national park. Juvenile and adult Blacktip reef shark are often seen around the shallow coral areas. Hawksbill turtle, Green turtle and Olive Ridley are the visiting sea turtles of the coral reef. The island is also an important breeding ground for the Rock Pigeon.
Pigeon Island National Park, one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka is located off the coast of Nilaweli in the eastern Trincomalee district, and is a tourist hot spot that has to be accessed via boats. The boat service to the island had been suspended due to the monsoon season and prevailing rough seas considering the safety of the tourists.
As the new tourist season begins, the Department of Wildlife together with the Sri Lanka Navy has issued a new set of guidelines to the boat operators to follow when transporting tourists to the island. The guidelines basically consider the health and safety of visitors to the island, but also address some concerns in regards to environmental impact foreign tourists could have on the islands biosphere. Accordingly, and although not completely banned, tourists are strictly advised against the consumption of alcohol during their visit to the island.